HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The older sister of a 12-year-old girl who authorities say was locked in a basement for weeks has testified that the child was forced to stand in cold showers for punishment.

Media outlets report the sister testified Tuesday in Butler County Juvenile Court in Hamilton. It was the first day of the bench trial for 40-year-old Shawn Blackston and 37-year-old Joanna Blackston of Middletown.

The Blackstons are each charged with a child endangering misdemeanor for allegedly locking the 12-year-old in the basement and have pleaded not guilty. They were arrested in July after authorities said they found the girl in the basement, dirty and underweight.

Authorities said the girl allegedly was confined as punishment. She’s in foster care, as are five other children who lived in the home.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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